Solway Firth flood warning scheme to benefit coastal communities

  09 October 2015
More than 1400 homes and businesses could benefit from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) new coastal flood warning scheme for the Solway Firth, which was launched today (Friday 9 October) by the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr. Aileen McLeod.

Twelve new Flood Warning Areas have been introduced to help vulnerable communities at risk of flooding along the Solway Firth coastline from Loch Ryan to Gretna.

Richard Brown, Head of Hydrology at SEPA, said:

As many residents and businesses around the Solway Firth know, flooding is a real threat. This became only too clear in early 2014 when flooding resulted in extensive damage at Port William and caused disruption on local roads.  

“We hope that as many people as possible who live and work in, or travel through, the Solway Firth area will sign up to SEPA’s Floodline flood warning service. Our customers will receive free advance notification when flooding is predicted, providing crucial time to prepare and protect themselves, and their properties, against the disruption and damage which flooding can cause.  It’s important to remember that it’s never too early to sign up to Floodline and be prepared to take action.”

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod said:

I am pleased to support SEPA in their crucial role as flood warning authority and the Solway Firth coastal flood warning scheme is an excellent example of partnership delivery.

“I would encourage everyone who lives or works in or travels through the coastal warning areas from Loch Ryan to Gretna to sign up for flood warnings immediately. Signing up for flood warnings is an important first step and acting on that warning can make a huge difference to individuals and communities.”

Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chair said:

Dumfries and Galloway Council are extremely pleased to see the launch of SEPA's coastal flood warning system for the Solway, targeting at risk areas from Gretna to Drummore and continuing all the way to Cairnryan.

“With many communities on our coastline facing a flooding threat from the combination of high tides and storms, the opportunity this system offers for those at risk to be prepared is extremely beneficial.

“The impacts of coastal flooding can be greatly reduced by the combination of high quality, targeted flood warning and property level protection. With the first now being provided by SEPA, our Council encourages anyone at risk to take advantage of the subsidy scheme that we operate that gives up to 50% grant towards a variety of property level protection products, including floodgates, air brick covers & non-return valves. Details are on the leaflets issued by SEPA or the Council's website (”

In addition to the Floodline service, which provides direct warnings to people and businesses in Scotland, SEPA is working in partnership with the Met Office through the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS). The SFFS provides daily guidance on the potential flood risk for the next five days to all local authorities, emergency services and other emergency responders in Scotland, allowing them to plan their response to flood threats.

Through the Floodline service SEPA currently provides advance flood warnings for over 260 areas across Scotland, and people can sign up to receive free notifications of flood warning messages direct to their choice of mobile or landline numbers at or by calling 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188.


Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government has provided SEPA with funding to deliver the Solway Firth coastal flood warning scheme.

The 12 new flood warning areas are: Upper Solway Firth, Kirkcudbright Bay, East Luce Bay, Nith Tidal, Fleet Bay, West Luce Bay, Southerness Point, Inner Wigtown Bay, South West Rhins, Rough Firth, Outer Wigtown Bay, Loch Ryan 

About the Floodline service

Across Scotland, there are approximately 125,000 properties at risk of flooding.

Anyone – including those who live in, work or travel through areas at risk of flooding – can sign up to SEPA’s Floodline service and receive details on the likelihood and timing of any potential flooding threat. This ensures everyone in Scotland can get the benefit of SEPA’s extensive flood forecasting expertise and monitoring networks.

Flooding advice, information and animations can also be viewed on SEPA’s Floodline site:

Types of flooding

Flooding can arise from a number of sources; river flooding, coastal flooding, and surface water flooding in heavy downpours, when the ground can’t absorb any more water and from blocked drains overflowing.


The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s environmental regulator and national flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management authority.

SEPA’s flood warning service includes Floodline; a 24 hour telephone and online information service covering all of Scotland. To operate the service, SEPA monitors weather forecasts, rainfall and water levels. SEPA is also responsible for providing advice to local authorities on flood risk for planning purposes,for the national co-ordination of flood risk management planning in Scotland and for the production of national flood hazard and risk maps.